Nurses call on Nationals to stand up for country health services

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A dedicated group of members from the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) has travelled to Queanbeyan to garner support for better public health services throughout country NSW. The NSWNMA members made their long journey south to coincide with the NSW Nationals Annual General Conference and called on NSW Nationals MPs to stand up for rural patients, nurses and midwives ahead of the State Budget next Tuesday.

Part of a statewide campaign, the group of nurses highlighted their efforts to achieve the same nurse-to-patient ratios for public hospitals within country electorates as those currently enjoyed in metropolitan areas. For example, at many country hospitals the ratio on a general surgical ward is 5 patients to 1 nurse (day and afternoon shifts). In major metropolitan hospitals, however, the ratio is 4 patients to 1 nurse (day and afternoon shifts) – meaning each patient in most country hospitals receives one hour less care from nurses than those in city hospitals.

General Secretary of the NSWNMA, Brett Holmes, said the group was in town to show support for new members from the Queanbeyan and Cooma branches of the NSWNMA and to speak to the community about local public health services.

“As advocates for better health outcomes, our members strongly believe country patients deserve the same level of nursing care that patients in the city receive,” Mr Holmes said.

“Our members are door-knocking throughout Queanbeyan and speaking to the local community about their public health services and medical costs.

“Ideally, our campaign for mandated nurse-to-patients ratios would be raised inside the NSW Nationals annual conference, to let us know the MPs really do care about people in their rural electorates as well as the need for improved public health services in the bush.

“The day after last month’s federal Budget, NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner made a commitment to put patients first and we intend holding her to that promise.”

The NSWNMA members also delivered a petition of more than 10,000 signatures to Monaro MP John Barilaro for presentation to the NSW Legislative Assembly.

The petition calls on the NSW government to put patient safety first by expanding legally enforceable mandated nurse-to-patient ratios in public health facilities across the entire state.

Download this media release: Nurses call on Nationals to stand up for country health services

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